Girls and Their Cats is a stunning photo series book that redefines what it means to be a “cat lady” through striking portraits and engaging profiles of unique women and their cats.
Creator of the book, BriAnne Wills set out to debunk the crazy cat lady stereotype and to showcase cat-owning women in a positive light. She photographed over 300 women around the US, all as individual as their feline friends.
Girls and Their Cats features 50 strong, independent, and artistic women who take the world in stride with their beloved felines. Interspersed throughout are amusing lists any cat lady will find relatable, from “How to Catproof Your Home” to “The Chorus of Cat Sounds,” as well as an adoption resource guide and a list of rescue organizations in the United States and Canada.
It even features a vibrant cover and a gorgeous faux-suede spine, making it a beautiful coffee table book or deluxe gift.
We had the delightful opportunity to chat with BriAnne and ask her a few questions behind the making of this wonderful compendium of the cutest cat ladies and their feline companions. >^..^<
What surprised you most in the development of your book?
As a first-time author, I didn’t know what to expect. The most surprising thing was how much time it takes to publish a book. I’m used to instant gratification with online posts and it was almost a year after I took all the photos that the book was published. During that time, there were name changes, status changes, and a couple older cats had even passed away.
What (if anything) would you have done differently now that the book is in print?
I would allow myself more time for photo shoots in each city by extending my stay by a day or two. In Philadelphia, I had five shoots in one day and it was exhausting for an introvert like me. Now I know it’s better to space it out a bit.
What (or who) was your biggest inspiration in creating this book?
Just all the cool, compassionate cat ladies in my life.
What was your funniest photo-shoot experience?
Cats are always doing cute things to make me laugh at shoots, but one shoot that stands out to me is the one with Mrs. Brown. She was such a ham and had the most unintentionally grumpy looking face. There was one moment where she’s perched on a stool, staring at me proudly with her snaggletooth and puffed-out chest. Something about that pose just made me so giggly.
What was your most difficult (challenging) photo-shoot experience?
Well, cats are not known for taking direction well. So each shoot is a little bit challenging in that sense. But anytime I work with cats who are afraid of strangers, it’s even more challenging. We use all the tricks in the book to coax them out of hiding: toys, treats, and their favorite food only reserved for special occasions.
What’s the most rewarding feedback you’ve received?
Some people have said that reading these heartwarming stories has made them feel more secure about owning the term cat lady. I love that.
Tell us a bit about your cats and what they’re like.
I have two cats, Liza and Tuck. Liza is a brown tabby and she’s very much a mama’s girl. We have a special bond. Tuck is a black and white tuxedo and he loves anyone with a warm lap.
We had to ask … what’s the likelihood of a second book?
I’m very much in! I guess it’s up to my publisher. 😉
What key message(s) would you like to share with our readers?
First I want everyone to feel good about being a cat lady. There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. The badass cat-owning women in my book prove that. And second, I want to encourage anyone who is thinking about getting a cat to adopt! There are so many amazing cats in shelters waiting for their forever family.
What’s your favorite story in the book?
Alela Diane’s story in the beginning of the book was so beautiful and poignant. I imagine it’s how we all feel about our cats. It made me cry every time I read it.
BriAnne Wills is a New York–based fashion and beauty photographer and the creator of Girls and Their Cats. Originally from Oregon, she currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two cats, Liza and Tuck. Her co-writer was Elyse Moody, senior editor at Martha Stewart Living.
Be sure to follow BriAnne on her IG at @girlsandtheircats.